PROFILE OF A
Barkman was born in a mud hut in Tshikapa, Belgian Congo to missionary parents who served
there for over 30 years. His mother, a trained nurse, was the only medical
help for over 240,000 natives. His father was a principal for a school that
educated the native population to the 8th grade. They took Sam to a home of relatives in
Sam was two years old his parents returned to the Congo and left him behind
in care of his grandparents and two maiden aunts. They returned every six years, and finally
remained with him while he was attending high school, returning to the Congo
while Sam was enrolled in Bethel College in Kansas. He graduated as a vocal music major but
instead went to work in the advertising department of the Wichita Kansas
Beacon. He also directed a small
church choir in Wichita where a young lady named Lydia Voth
joined the choir without Sam’s permission.
thereafter, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 41st
Evacuation Hospital. He was then sent
to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where Sam served as a chaplain’s assistant
mainly due to his musical ability.
After 15 months of training including the Tennessee Maneuvers, he was
sent overseas in November 1943 sailing on the Queen Mary from New York to
Scotland in only 3 days and 18 hours.
From November to June Sam was stationed in Gloucestershire, England
where he was assigned to the Plans and Training Department. He was put in charge of the Special
Services Department where he edited a weekly 8-page newspaper that included
social and entertainment activities for more then
outfit left for the invasion of Normandy, arriving at Omaha Beach at D+4 but
was not allowed to land until D+5. By
D+6 his outfit had their hospital open and they were assigned to the 29th
Infantry Division. His group stayed on
to the end of the war and served over 33,000 patients, losing less then 2% including DOA’s.
When Sam was discharged his rank was a T/3.
in the U.S., Sam spent a week with his parents in Kansas whom he had not seen
for over 10 years. He then went on to
San Joaquin, California where his former acquaintance Lydia Voth was teaching school.
Only four hours after meeting they were engaged and within one week
they were married. Sam decided then
and there to teach in San Joaquin with Lydia and not return to the newspaper
business in Wichita. In 1948 the Barkmans moved to Fresno, California where Sam taught at
Jackson Elementary School as a 5th grade teacher and choir
director. After 5 years Sam moved to
Sequoia Junior High School where he became the Vocal Music teacher that was
his first love, working with over 300 students. He also became the Youth Choir Director at
the First Presbyterian Church, working with 3 choirs totaling over 200
singers each week. Six years later Sam
moved on to Fresno’s McLane High School, teaching 5 periods of choir every
day. He also formed a community boy’s choir with 70 young men that rehearsed twice
weekly. It was named the Lisle Boys
Choir and appeared at various functions for sixteen years, appearing on
television shows each year at Christmas and Easter.
his teaching years Sam enrolled in the conservatory of music at the University
of Pacific in Stockton and received a master’s degree in music. During summers, Sam worked on the
University’s summer music staff as director of Junior High School Choral
Music and served as dean of boys for 5 one-week camps that included band,
orchestra and choirs. Over 500
students participated in the camp and performed 5 summer concerts. This continued for 25 years and included
his organizing chairmanship of the Pacific Clinic choir during winter clinics
that had over 2000 singers. In Fresno,
Sam hired on as the Director of Music for the First Presbyterian Church that
had 3 choirs. He organized the Fresno “Messiah Sing Along” that included
directing 800 singers, a 40-piece orchestra and an organist. His work lasted for 20 years with this
years ago, Sam completely retired completing 35 years with the school
district and 40 years of church choir work.
He also served with Swiss Air for 19 years as a tour host. In 1986, Sam received from the Northern
California Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, the Howard
Swan Award for outstanding contributions to choral music. The Chapter has over 450 choral directors
in its membership. Sam has served as a
docent at the Legion of Valor Museum for over 2 years and enjoyed his volunteer